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PinkMonkey Digital Library-Sister Carrie by Theodore Dreiser


Chapter XL
A PUBLIC DISSENSION: A FINAL APPEAL


There was no after-theatre lark, however, so far as Carrie was
concerned. She made her way homeward, thinking about her
absence. Hurstwood was asleep, but roused up to look as she
passed through to her own bed.

"Is that you?" he said.

"Yes," she answered.

The next morning at breakfast she felt like apologising.
"I couldnít get home last evening," she said.

"Ah, Carrie," he answered, "whatís the use saying that? I donít
care. You neednít tell me that, though."

"I couldnít," said Carrie, her colour rising. Then, seeing that he
looked as if he said "I know," she exclaimed: "Oh, all right. I
donít care."

From now on, her indifference to the flat was even greater. There
seemed no common ground on which they could talk to one
another. She let herself be asked for expenses. It became so with
him that he hated to do it. He preferred standing off the butcher
and baker. He ran up a grocery bill of sixteen dollars with
Oeslogge, laying in a supply of staple articles, so that they would
not have to buy any of those things for some time to come. Then
he changed his grocery. It was the

same with the butcher and several others. Carrie never heard
anything of this directly from him. He asked for such as he could
expect, drifting farther and farther into a situation which could
have but one ending.

In this fashion, September went by.

"Isnít Mr. Drake going to open his hotel?" Carrie asked several
times.

"Yes. He wonít do it before October, though, now."

Carrie became disgusted. "Such a man," she said to herself
frequently. More and more she visited. She put most of her spare
money in clothes, which, after all, was not an astonishing amount.
At last the opera she was with announced its departure within four
weeks. "Last two weeks of the Great Comic Opera success-The-,"
etc., was upon all billboards and in the newspapers, before she
acted.

"Iím not going out on the road," said Miss Osborne.

Carrie went with her to apply to another manager.

"Ever had any experience?" was one of his questions.

"Iím with the company at the Casino now."

"Oh, you are?" he said.

The end of this was another engagement at twenty per week.

Carrie was delighted. She began to feel that she had a place in the
world. People recognised ability.

So changed was her state that the home atmosphere became
intolerable. It was all poverty and trouble there, or seemed to be,
because it was a load to bear. It became a place to keep away
from. Still she slept there, and did a fair amount of work, keeping
it in order. It was a sitting place for Hurstwood. He sat and
rocked, rocked and read, enveloped in the gloom of his own fate.
October went by, and November. It was the dead of winter almost
before he knew it, and there he sat.

Carrie was doing better, that he knew. Her clothes were improved
now, even fine. He saw her coming and going, sometimes
picturing to himself her rise. Little eating had thinned him
somewhat. He had no appetite. His clothes, too, were a poor
manís clothes. Talk about getting something had become even too
threadbare and ridiculous for him. So he folded his hands and
waited-for what, he could not anticipate.

At last, however, troubles became too thick. The hounding of
creditors, the indifference of Carrie, the silence of the flat, and
presence of winter, all joined to produce a climax. It was effected
by the arrival of Oeslogge, personally, when Carrie was there.

"I call about my bill," said Mr. Oeslogge.

Carrie was only faintly surprised.

"How much is it?" she asked.

"Sixteen dollars," he replied.

"Oh, that much?" said Carrie. "Is this right?" she asked, turning to
Hurstwood.

"Yes," he said.

"Well, I never heard anything about it."

She looked as if she thought he had been contracting some
needless expense.
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PinkMonkey Digital Library-Sister Carrie by Theodore Dreiser



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